It has always been known that there was access from the hospital to the graveyard and woodland due to the tunnel that could be seen running under the A65 road. trackThe existence of the railway was found when Dr Steve Ellams tripped over a piece of metal that upon closer inspection was shown to be a piece of railway track. This sent him on a voyage of discovery with the help of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway the route of the line was discovered.




The High Royds Hospital Railway was a short railway connecting the West Riding County Asylum near Leeds in West Yorkshire with the Midland Railway line between Menston and Guiseley on the Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway (nowadays the Wharfedale Line). The line opened in 1883 and ran for just over 0.5 miles (0.80 km), it was constructed to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge and was a single line throughout.[2] The line closed in the 1930s in the face of road competition and increasing maintenance costs but reopened again in 1939 when the outbreak of war led to a fuel shortage for road transport. Final closure came in 1951.


The line was originally build to supply building materials during the construction of the hospital and later for the carriage of supplies such as flour and mostly coal for fuel in the hospital boilers. Coal wagons arriving at the hospital discharged in coal hoppers under the railway and any coal that did not empty by gravity had to be unloaded by hand, this was normally a job for male patients of the hospital.

train 1

The railway company would leave loaded wagons on siding beside the main line and collect empties from the same. Movement of the wagons between the siding and the hospital was carried out by the hospital.

Motive power

When the line first opened a small steam engine was purchased by the hospital board but it proved to be underpowered and was prone to slipping on the severe gradient up from the main line. In 1897 the board decided to electrify the line and an overhead line system was installed. An electric locomotive was brought in but again proved to be underpowered and could only manage to haul one loaded coal wagon up the gradient. A more powerful electric locomotive was brought in as a replacement in the 1920s and was used until the line closed in the 1930s and the subsequent wartime reopening.


IMG_0761The Lock was removed for repair, once cleaned the makers name was clear and it was a surprise to find that the manufacturers are still producing locks to this day.

!cid_1488AE51-FBCE-4EBF-AE08-2CD0D53632AEThis style of lock was used within High Royds Mental Hospital with three members of staff with three keys required to open security doors

kaye and son